News & Insights

The Deadline: A Media Industry’s Fight for Integrity: Preserving Staffers as Newsrooms Continue to Shuffle

By Rebecca Epps

The Deadline - Media Intelligence Newsletter.

Key Highlights

  • Fox News vs. Donald Trump – As the 2024 presidential race heats up, former President Donald Trump questions Fox News’ loyalty to his administration during an interview with Bret Baier.
  • Networks & Newsrooms in Jeopardy – Bloomberg TV, a network that has appeared spared from reshuffles, announces layoffs. While some of the most famed and well-known cable channels face exoduses.
  • Restoring Fair Competition – The nation’s largest newspaper company takes on Google and its advertising efforts, claiming Google “demolished” fair competition.

Industry News

Fox News Names Permanent Replacement for Tucker Carlson’s 8 p.m. Hour

Nearly two months after the ousting of Tucker Carlson, Fox News names the successor to his coveted 8 p.m. hour time slot. Jesse Watters will take over the role. His official hosting duties will begin on July 17. Watters joined Fox News in 2002 where he got an early break as a correspondent for “The O’Reilly Factor,” becoming known for man-on-the-street interviews on politics and other topics. His most recent endeavor at the network includes hosting “Jesse Watters Primetime” and co-hosting “The Five,” Fox’s highest-rated program. Watters’ new appointment to Carlson’s former role comes at a critical moment for Fox. Since Carlson’s departure, the 8 p.m. hour has drawn about half of Carlson’s three-million-plus audience while it was anchored by a rotating set of hosts.

NBCUniversal Gets Creative to Win Over Advertisers

At this month’s Cannes Lions advertising festival in France, NBCUniversal bet big on winning over top advertisers to join the network. “SNL” executive producer Lorne Michaels held court with top ad leaders about aligning themselves with “SNL” as the late-night mainstay nears its 50th season in the fall of 2024. According to NBCU’s interim chairman of advertising, the meetings were collaborative and tactical. “SNL” was hit hard by the Hollywood writer’s strike and fresh episodes have been in short supply. NBCUniversal also used Cannes to tout the 2024 Paris Summer Olympics, hoping that the mega-sporting event, which NBC broadcasts, would spur some advertisers to buy broader packages with the network.

Warner Bros. Discovery TV Begin Layoffs, TCM Continues Exodus

Cutbacks continue to permeate the media industry, with Warner Bros. Discovery one of the latest to announce a round of layoffs. The cuts, which are described by insiders as “pockets of refinement” rather than all-together layoffs, are taking place in its cable TV business. Warner Bros. Discovery operates cable networks including Discovery Channel, TLC, Investigation Discovery, Science Channel, and Animal Planet as well as the former Scripps networks such as Food Network and HGTV. It also operates the former Turner-branded networks such as TNT, TBS, and truTV. Meanwhile, the shakeups continue inside Turner Classic Movies (TCM), which is also owned by Warner Bros. Discovery. The employee count is reportedly being slashed from about 90 to 20 according to a report. The New York Times’ Maureen Dowd wrote an op-ed on saving the network.

The Nation’s Largest Newspaper Company Files a Lawsuit Against Google

Gannett is taking legal action against Google, claiming the tech giant illegally monopolized the advertising technology market. The lawsuit makes similar arguments to those made by the U.S. Department of Justice in a lawsuit against Google in which it alleged Google illegally maintained a monopoly through its control of multiple parts of the ad selling and buying market. Gannett is the nation’s largest newspaper company, owning USA Today as well as several well-known local newspapers including the Detroit Free Press, The Indianapolis Star, The Tennessean, and others throughout the country. Mike Reed, chief executive of Gannett, stated in a piece for USA Today, “Our lawsuit seeks to restore a fair competition in a digital advertising marketplace that Google has demolished.”

Bret Baier and Donald Trump’s Interview Focuses on Relationship with Fox News

Fox News host Bret Baier and former President Donald Trump squared off in a two-night interview on the network. The discussion covered a lot of ground, including Trump’s federal indictment, the Covid-19 vaccination program, and Trump’s various potential opponents for the presidency. However, as some noted, the core of the interview seemed to be about Trump’s relationship with Fox News as the 2024 primary heats up. Fox’s endless promotion of Trump played a key role in helping him to the presidency in 2016, effectively becoming state TV for his administration. However, Fox’s support for Trump’s 2024 presidential bid has waned amid reports that Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch, the owner and heir to the mass media company, prefer a fresher face for the Republican Party. Trump used his interview with Baier to repeatedly raise what he viewed as a lack of loyalty from the network.

Meta Blocks News Access on Facebook and Instagram for Canadians

Social media giant Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram, says it will end access to news on its social media site for all Canadian users. The move comes as Bill C-18, the Online News Act, comes into play. The bill will force tech giants like Meta and Google to pay news outlets for posting their journalism on their platforms. In a statement, Canadian Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez said, “A free and independent press is fundamental to our democracy. It levels the playing field by putting the power of big tech in check and ensuring that even our smallest news business can benefit through this regime and receive fair compensation for their work.” Meta said it will begin to block news for Canadian users over the next few months and that the change will not be immediate.

VICE Media to be Acquired for $350M; the Media Company Filed for Bankruptcy in May

Online publisher Vice Media is set for acquisition. The media company that gained popularity with Millennials through its websites Vice and Motherboard was forced to file for bankruptcy last month as a result of a slew of financial difficulties, top executive departures, and the company’s prior efforts to sell itself. Vice Media will be sold to a consortium led by Fortress Investment Group after a bankruptcy court approved its $350M bid. The offer is in the form of a credit bid.

Layoffs Hit Bloomberg as the Media Company Continues a Restructuring

In a rare move, Bloomberg announces a handful of layoffs in its newsroom as the media company shifts resources around the organization. According to Insider, the cuts will affect about 10 people and include staff on the national news desk, TV, and radio. Bloomberg has a newsroom employee body of about 2,700. The move comes after Global Head of Bloomberg TV Julie Alnwick McHale announced a restructuring earlier this month, including naming a new editor at large, reorganizing the newsroom’s booking team, and cutting duplicative programming. In an internal memo seen by Insider, Alnwick McHale said since she rejoined TV, she’s emphasized the need for BTV to be news first across all platforms, leveraging their global scope.

Talks Halt to Sell The Daily Beast

Barry Diller, the media mogul and chairman of the digital media company IAC, says The Daily Beast is no longer for sale. The Daily Beast, which is known for its aggressive political and media coverage, had reportedly been in talks to be sold in a deal with Ankler Media, a start-up that earned a reputation for its undaunted coverage of Hollywood’s elites. In a statement, Diller said that they did have negotiations with The Ankler but have withdrawn from them. Diller did not elaborate on his plans for the publication that first went into circulation in 2008. The news concludes a monthslong effort to find a new home for The Daily Beast, which is part of IAC, a holding company that also owns magazines including People, Better Homes, and Southern Living.

Career Moves

Vox Media Announces New C-Suite Appointments

A slew of new executives has been appointed to Vox Media, the media company that owns publications such as New York Magazine, Eater, and The Verge. The new appointments come as the company looks to diversify its business and focus on new revenue streams while also growing its ad business, which makes up the majority of its revenue. One of the notable appointments: the company’s longtime Chief Revenue Officer Ryan Pauley taking on an expanded role as president, revenue and growth. Pauley joined Vox Media over a decade ago.

The New York Times Appoints New Lead to Popular “Run-Up” Podcast

As the 2024 presidential race heats up, “The Run-Up,” a politics podcast from The New York Times, is amping up efforts around the show, announcing a new season in April and now appointing a new editor, Rachel Dry. In a memo announcing her new role, the Times said Dry has a gift for sifting through the news and emerging with the perfect voice while serving as deputy editor for politics in 2020. “The Run-Up” has distinguished itself as some of the sharpest, most searching political reporting in the nation. Host Astead Herndon and team delve into deeper questions around the presidential race and work to give listeners unabashed answers.

POLITICO Announces New Hires in California Expansion

Longtime Washington D.C.-based politics publication POLITICO is expanding its newsroom reach, impact, and influence in California with new hires and revamps around the California Playbook. The West Coast-based focused edition of POLITICO was the publication’s first entry into the state in 2015, and the news company is looking to bolster it. New hires include: Dustin Gardiner from the San Francisco Chronicle as co-author of the flagship newsletter on Golden State politics; Melanie Mason of the Los Angeles Times as the new senior political reporter covering politics, power, and influence in LA; and Jeremy B. White who will be taking on a new role as a senior reporter covering politics and policy in the California legislature.


In-depth with NBC Nightly News Anchor Lester Holt

In its long-running “What I’ve Learned” series, Esquire put the spotlight on Lester Holt, the 64-year-old American broadcast news mainstay. Holt is currently the host of NBC’s “Nightly News,” holding the role since 2015. He is also a musician and a father. In the in-depth feature, Holt details some of his key life lessons. From a news storytelling perspective, Holt shares how you can’t hammer people with nothing but dark, difficult stories – you have to find a balance and give people something hopeful as well. He also shares that the hardest job he’s ever had is cable-news anchor. As one of the most notable figures at the journalistic helm over the past decade, Holt says that three forces have really shaped where we are as a country: 9/11, Covid, and Donald Trump. He concludes, “Take that any way you want.” From a personal perspective, the long-time and often beloved news anchor sheds light on his family and passions. Holt talks about jamming with his band, being married to his wife for 41 years and playing Wordle together every night, and thinking he should have been an Air Force pilot when he was 28 years old. NBC “Nightly News” celebrated its 75th anniversary earlier this month.

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